While the area’s public schools are preparing for district and regional tournaments, the boys and girls teams at Danville Christian Academy are preparing for their own postseasons.
The Warriors will be playing for championships in the coming weeks that are less familiar but no less significant, and their coaches are looking for a little momentum as they move closer to those tournaments.
The tuneups continued Tuesday night as DCA swept a doubleheader from Kentucky School for the Deaf for the second time this season. The DCA girls opened the twinbill at Thomas Hall with a 50-11 victory, and the boys followed with a 40-20 win.
Both DCA teams have set school records for wins in a season — the girls surpassed the mark of 13 wins they set last year on Tuesday — and both of their coaches hope their teams can make deep postseason runs.
The DCA boys will play in the Kentucky Christian School Athletic Association tournament Feb. 21-23 in Lexington. Teams are placed into one of four divisions based on their performance during the season, and the Warriors, who are ranked second in their region, will play in the highest of those divisions.
“Our team is progressing, and we really have developed some momentum that will carry us through the tournament,” DCA boys coach Jeremy Tarter said.
The DCA girls compete in the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association. They are seeded eighth of 11 teams and will host a first-round tournament game next week against No. 9 seed Academy for Individual Excellence, with which they split two regular-season games, for the chance to advance to the quarterfinals Feb. 28 in Wilmore.
“We’re starting to (get there),” DCA girls coach Jamie Middleton said. “We’re learning to just play hard all the time and not play to our competition. That’s what got us in trouble early in the year. But we’re getting better.”
KSD’s postseason typically ends in the first round of the 45th District Tournament, and its two young teams are no threat to pull an upset next week. But the coaches say they are pleased with the Colonels’ progress.
The KSD boys have been hit hard by graduation over the last two years, and it has been tough sledding for this year’s young team.
“But I know several players have possibilities for the future, they just have to work hard,” KSD boys coach Mike Yance said through an interpreter.
The KSD girls haven’t won this season and have an extremely young team, with a freshman and three eighth-graders among its top six players. And Lisa Morse, who returned to the program for a second stint as coach after 12 years, came on board only the day before practice started.
“We’re very young, and we’re trying to do a lot of catching up,” Morse said. “We’ve come a long, long way, and they’ve worked very, very hard for me. They’ve got four or five offensive plays, and they have several defenses they can run. And they’re all good kids, and we have good camaraderie, and that means a lot.”
DCA 40, KSD 20 — The Warriors (16-7) secured this win in the first half, when they held the Colonels (5-20) to four points.
DCA’s top players had lesser roles in this game, but the Warriors still displayed the kind of balance that Tarter said has served them well, with four players scoring between six and eight points and eight players scoring in all.
“It’s an unselfish team with a common goal,” he said. “I think what’s made a difference for us this year is the consistent effort and unselfishness. We’ve got six guys that have scored 20 or more points in a game. You never know who’s going to lead us in scoring.
Daniel Crall and Zach Tarter did so in this game with eight points each, and Tarter also had five rebounds and five assists.
Valdin Kudic, the only senior who has been with KSD all season, had seven points, 11 rebounds and two steals in his final home game. Corey Lewis had four assists despite playing less than a half, and Adam Turner had nine rebounds.
The Colonels, who went 8 for 32 from the field, were without four players who missed the game for various reasons, including leading scorer Dillon Maynard.
“We’re not used to playing without them,” Yance said.
DCA 50, KSD 11 — The Warriors (14-9) held the Colonels (0-23) to two points in the first quarter, but Middleton said he thought his team was flat in the early going, and he said he tried to motivate them with a Bible verse (Colossians 3:23) that says in part, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.”
“I got a little upset with them and told them they didn’t play with the intensity level we need,” he said. “(In the second half) we came out with a little more intensity, so we were proud to see that.”
Katherine Raines led DCA with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six steals, and Becca Tarter had six rebounds and four steal. The Warriors were 23 for 56 from the field.
KSD had played more than two hours away the night before at Red Bird, and Morse said she believes her players have worn down.
“I do feel they’ve improved. I don’t think feel that they showed it tonight. They’re young, and they’re just beat, and that’s what you saw tonight,” she said.
Jade Bell had 16 points at Red Bird but scored only five on Tuesday to lead the Colonels.
Danville Christian 17 24 38 40
Kentucky School f/t Deaf 1 3 16 20
DCA (16-7) — Josh Asmus 3, Daniel Crall 8, Caleb Tarter 2, Zach Tarter 8, Paul Robertson 6, Landon Sears 4, Colin Pierson 2, Chris Miller 7.
KSD (5-20) — Adam Turner 5, Corey Lewis 4, Valdin Kudic 7, Bruce Gemmer 2, Payne Yance 2.
Danville Christian 15 25 44 50
Kentucky School f/t Deaf 2 9 9 11
DCA (14-9) — Taylor Lucas 2, Becca Tarter 4, Kristen Asmus 7, Haley Sheperson 6, Jenny Beth Cox 6, Reagan Weiskircher 6, Eliza Hurst 2, Katherine Raines 17.
KSD (0-23) — Jade Bell 5, Zoe Andrews 4, Caitlyn Neace 2.